|Virginia Donohue , On Point for College Inc.|
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|Contact Virginia Donohue|
On Point for College Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010
In 1997 Virginia Donohue’s daughter, then a high school senior, asked if she would help her friend get into college. The friend’s family didn’t have the resources to help him through the process. Donohue’s decision to help changed the course of her own life.
She eventually resigned from her secure, well-paying job as chief financial officer of a large computer company and in 1999 she founded On Point for College Inc. to help vulnerable youths overcome obstacles and allow them to pursue their college dreams. Nearly all of the kids with whom Donohue works are the first in their families to attend college.
Twenty percent are either homeless, aging out of foster care, refugees or being raised by someone other than their parents. Unlike college access programs that work out of high schools, On Point meets with young people ages 17 to 25 at their neighborhood community centers. Donohue assembled a network of more than 100 volunteer mentors to take participating youths on college trips, making more than 550 such trips last year alone.
On Point, which is based in Syracuse, N.Y., also provides various kinds of support for the youths, including school supplies, clothes, medication and campus housing deposits. On Point has enrolled more than 2,000 students in 200 colleges. Despite the financial sacrifices Donohue made to start On Point, she says, “It was the best decision I have ever made. The joy I feel when someone walks across that graduation stage is worth a million dollars.”